OP/ED Authors:

Op/Ed

Op/Ed: Eric Hamelback

The horse-racing industry is poised to take an incredibly important step forward this week in achieving true uniformity among jurisdictions on medication policies and penalties for violators. Following the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) September meeting in Chicago, a subcommittee was formed to investigate and recommend the possibility of changes to the Multiple Medication Violation (MMV) penalty system of the National Uniform Medication Program (NUMP). The subcommittee was comprised of a wide array of industry stake-holders, and the consortium board approved the recommendations, which was then proposed to the...

[ Read More ]
Lessons Learned This Weekend

A Handicap is a Handicap... When previewing a Group 1 race, it is all too easy merely to try to find the best horse in the race. That's obviously fair enough; but when it is a Group 1 handicap, the situation is no different from any other handicap, i.e. that the key is generally to find the best-handicapped, rather than merely the best, horse. Ever since Jameka (Aus) (Myboycharlie {Ire}) landed the G3 Naturalism S. at Caulfield on 17th Sept., the 4-year-old loomed as potentially the blot on the handicap...

[ Read More ]
Motion Responds to KHRC Ruling

Editor’s Note: Trainer H. Graham Motion has penned the following response to a KHRC ruling Tuesday fining him for a Robaxin positive with last year’s GIII Bewitch S. winner Kitten’s Point (Kitten’s Joy). Click here to read a TDN article on his initial appeal to the suspension and fine. After over 11,000 starters and more than 2,000 winners over the course of more than 20 years, [Tuesday] I was fined by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for the first positive in my career and Kitten's Point was disqualified from her...

[ Read More ]
Do Britain/Ireland Make Enough of Their Thoroughbred Heritage?

In life, sometimes our most valuable commodities are right in front of our noses, but remain underappreciated and underutilised such is our familiarity with them. Horse racing can often seem like a sport that is quite insecure about its own value. Many of the marketing and promotional methods used by racing authorities around the world focus on attracting new fans to the sport using non-racing-related events and gimmicks such as post-race concerts, best-dressed lady competitions and student racedays, the hope being that those that attend for those sideshows will enjoy...

[ Read More ]
Op-Ed: “Saratoga Live” Gets It Right

I never understood why so many people putting together racing broadcasts didn’t understand their viewers or their viewers’ wants. We’ve gotten a lot of babble, features on the friendship between the goat and the favorite in that day’s stakes races and some nauseating banality and silliness. Even NBC, on its Derby show, forces figure skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski down our throats, which often produces some cringe-worthy moment. I’ll give NBC as pass because the audience for the Derby does in fact include a lot of non-racing fans who...

[ Read More ]
Keep Customers Engaged the Old-Fashioned Way

The Jockey Club’s 64th annual Round Table Conference took place on Sunday at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs. As I usually find with this conference, the speakers were interesting and informative, and I learned something. One speaker stood out to me, however, because he shared something that I found particularly compelling. Kip Levin, CEO of Betfair US and TVG, told the assembled audience that when a customer deposits $100 into a TVG account through NJBets, he or she generates $310 in handle. Meanwhile, when a customer deposits $100...

[ Read More ]
Let’s Talk About Drugs In Racing

The issue of drugs in sport has never been bigger than it is now. There have been so many performance-enhancing drug scandals in recent years that it has bred a culture of scepticism of sporting success amongst the public. Brilliant performances are immediately questioned as being too good to be true, with the trainers/coaches that oversee the success of athletes often coming under as much suspicion as the athletes themselves. Horse racing has not escaped such scrutiny, with both legal and illegal drugs being a constant subject of controversy and...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: Eric Hamelback
Op/Ed: Eric Hamelback

Everyone wants what is best for horse racing and especially for the Thoroughbred racehorses that make our industry possible. That is why many of us are stunned by The Jockey Club leadership's latest attempt to use that organization's considerable wealth and influence to push a piece of federal legislation, not supported by the vast majority in racing, to address a problem that many would agree is nonexistent. Allowing for our equine medication control, testing and sanctions to be placed in the hands of a private entity possessing no experience with...

[ Read More ]
Great Product. Lousy Product. Same Price?

The price of a new Honda Civic is about $23,000. The price of making a bet at the racetrack is the takeout, the percentage extracted from the pool before winning bettors are paid. No matter the race, the size of the field, the class of the horses running, the takeout is about 17% for a win bet or 34 cents for every $2 wager you make. Using that same logic, the price of a new BMW should also be about $23,000. Absurd? Of Course. Racing doesn’t seem to understand that...

[ Read More ]
Ben’s Cat’s Groupies

I have had the pleasure of knowing King Leatherbury since 1976. I have been his client, his competitor and, on occasion, his co-conspirator. All of these facets were a boatload of fun. I could not have imagined that 20 years after I left the business, King would come up with a homebred gelding that would rekindle not only our rapport, but that of several other "lost" friends. Ben's Cat, a winner of his first eight races, competed in the 2011 running of Laurel's Native Dancer S. Ben didn't win that...

[ Read More ]